Nebraska Recovery Network
Partners In Recovery
WASHINGTON (Dec. 9, 2006) -- Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders
and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration
in the world, according to criminal justice experts. - James Vicini, Reuters
Contact President Barack Obama
Senator Ben Nelson
Senator Mike Johanns
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Click here to: Contact the Governor
Click here to: Contact the Nebraska Attorney General
Click here to: Contact Amanda McGill (District 26)
Click here to: Find your State Senator
City of Lincoln Government:
Click here to: Contact the Mayor
Click here to: Contact the Lincoln City Council
Click here to: Contact the Media!
26 October 2006:
|A plan for addiction treatment is here!
|Join Together's Blueprint for the States.|
When I was the governor of Massachusetts, I witnessed the damage
wreaked by an epidemic of drug and alcohol use. I saw
costs, both personal and financial, and I saw that it was up to
me to do something about them.
That's why I know that state governments are on the front lines
in this battle. And it's why I know that the Blueprint
States report has the power to create groundbreaking change in
the way our nation deals with drug and alcohol
I write today to ask you to remind your state legislators and
governor that this Blueprint that will save lives is in
mail. Join Together is sending copies of this report to state
legislators and governors in all 50 states, with the
many Join Together subscribers who donated to the effort. Now we
need you to get them to read it and take action
hearings based on its recommendations.
Why do I believe so strongly in the Blueprint report's
recommendations? As a former governor, I know how difficult it
be to enact real, long-term change. I would have welcomed a
clear set of recommendations like the ones set forth in this
And yet it's possible that this Blueprint to save lives wouldn't
have made it to my desk. Like most governors, I was
busy keeping up with the problems associated with drug and
alcohol use - the very problems that this important
recommendations addresses! - that it was hard to make time for
Remember, the November elections are just weeks away, so your
candidates are listening to you. After you've sent your
print out a Blueprint that will save lives and take it with you
to candidate forums. Ask candidates to commit
to hold hearings
on the recommendations.
The more attention we can bring to this important set of
recommendations, the better - for our states, and for our
Thank you for all that you do. Remember to vote on November 7th.
You can make a difference.
Cut and paste this and send it to your representatives:
As Congress continues to weigh tax and spending priorities, I hope you will consider a logical and popular source of new
revenue that deserves your serious review.
A recent survey commissioned by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) examined the public's views on alcohol
tax increases and federal funding priorities. It found strong bi-partisan support -- among drinkers and non-drinkers
alike -- for increasing federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. Among the key findings:
- Seventy-one percent of Americans support a five cent per drink increase in federal alcohol taxes;
- Seventy-nine percent of Americans support an alcohol tax increase instead of a cut in federal programs;
- Fewer than half of Republicans think that five cents was too large an increase, and by more than a two to one margin,
Republicans preferred alcohol-tax hikes to cuts in programs such as Medicaid and drug benefits for the elderly.
A tax increase of five cents per drink would yield more than $20 billion in new revenue over the next five years.
Raising taxes on alcoholic beverages enjoys such widespread support because most Americans would barely notice an increase:
more than one-third of adults don’t drink and among those who do, more than eight in ten drink at most one per day.
The alcohol tax, for the most part, would be felt by the 20 percent of drinkers who consume 85 percent of all the alcohol
-- those whose heavy and addicted drinking imposes the greatest public health and safety costs to society.
An alcohol excise tax increase is also overdue and fair. Even with the last increase in 1991 (under the “Revenue
Reconciliation Act of 1990”), in the past fifty years the relative price of beer has fallen by more than 25 percent
relative to the Consumer Price Index, and the effective price of liquor has fallen almost 50 percent.
Please visit CSPI's website for further detail on their national alcohol tax poll, at: http://www.cspinet.org/new/200512071.html
You can find further background on alcohol tax issues at: http://www.cspinet.org/booze/FedBeerTaxTP.htm
I would appreciate knowing your views on this budget option, which I believe would make for sound fiscal and public health
policy. Thank you for your consideration.
With best regards,
5 September 2006:
Senator Price asked that I respond to your
thoughtful message concerning drug and substance abuse and societal costs associated with such abuse.
She appreciated your facts and figures. Senator Price recently attended the Lancaster
County Court Drug Court graduation. She feels that such diversionary courts are a good start to avoiding incarceration.
As of April, 2006, there were 1557 such courts fully operational in the US and 395 in the planning stages. There are
currently 11 in the state of Nebraska. These numbers are small compared to need.
Of course, as with any social services, money is the obstacle. While not as expensive
as prisons, the drug use has far surpassed the ability of law enforcement and the criminal prosecutors to keep ahead of the
users with supervised pre trial diversion.
Please keep in touch with the new Senator who will fill Senator Price's seat next January.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact her on this or other state matters.
Legislative Aide to Senator Marian Price
Other Organizations working for change in drug and alcohol policy in the United States:
Drug Policy Alliance
"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. We
rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens," said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports
alternatives in the war on drugs.
The Sentencing Project
The United States has a more punitive criminal justice system than other countries. We send more people
to prison, for more different offenses, for longer periods of time than anybody else.
Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million in prison, on probation or paroled. Other
countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.
- Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group advocating sentencing reform
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, cited the Justice Department
report and said drug offenders are clogging the U.S. justice system.
"Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing laws and the record number of nonviolent
drug offenders subject to them," she said.
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